As you know, Apple is suing Samsung for copying the look and feel of the iPhone and Samsung threatened counter-actions. Apple is Samsung’s second-largest customer after Sony and they provided Apple in 2010 with $5.7 billion worth in parts. Apple’s filing mentions three things: Their technology (A4/A5 chips manufactured by Samsung), user interface (Android ripping off iOS) and "innovative style" stemming from Jony Ive’s signature design. At least two of those are likely to be true, but I’d add one more thing to Apple’s list – marketing.
Compare Samsung’s television commercials from the pre-iPhone era to their latest communication style and you’ll immediately realize what I mean. Take, for example, the below commercial for the 4.3-inch Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone. Apart from the obvious polish like in Apple’s recent television advertising down to the lighting, smoothness, saturation and exaggerated colors, that commercial sports the familiar face. Doesn’t that fish remind you of a character from Pixar’s Nemo? It is exactly the same fish character Apple’s been using in its marketing collateral.
That below image is grabbed from Apple’s January 2007 iPhone introduction. Back then, Nemo was huge so Steve Jobs put the familiar fish scene on his lock screen. Fast forward four years and Samsung is re-using suspiciously Nemo-like fish as the main theme for their Galaxy S II commercial. It’s not just about the wallpaper on their phone, the advert’s creative concept is based on the fish idea meant to stress the vividness of the Super AMOLED display.
No, I’m not reading too much into it. Samsung’s advertising agency didn’t just pull the fish in a bowl idea out of thin air. Companies like Samsung and Apple don’t just slip in words, images and concepts in their advertising at random. Apple’s aware of this. Matter of fact, their spokesperson told Mobilized that Samsung didn’t just stop copying the iPhone and iPad, they also mimic Apple’s packaging.
Piggy-backing on other people’s successful marketing concepts is a cheap way to ensure the stickiness of your commercial and tap the pre-made audience out there. I see too many marketing similarities here, which is exactly why Apple is right to sue Samsung all the way to the bank.
Nemo fish on the original iPhone’s lock screen four years ago.
Fish in a bowl from Samsung’s advert. Looks familiar?